Captain Will Porterfield is hoping Ireland can mark his 100th international cap tomorrow by once again excelling at Sabina Park, as their preparation for the ICC World Twenty20 steps up.
West Indies, whom Ireland will face in their first group match in Guyana, are the opponents this time – at a venue which holds special memories for Porterfield’s team.
It was in Kingston that Ireland famously beat Pakistan, on St Patrick’s Day, in the 2007 World Cup.
They also have a handy record against the Windies, having bowled their high-profile opponents out for just 25 to record a remarkable victory back in 1969 – one of three times they have beaten them.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Niall O’Brien, who starred in the most recent of those successes six years ago, has sufficiently recovered from a chest infection to play tomorrow.
Opener Porterfield, set to become the 11th Irish player to chalk up 100 appearances and fifth among the current squad, knows the Windies will make life difficult for them again.
“It’ll be really tough against the West Indies – they showed just how good a side they are with that big win over Canada yesterday,” said the Gloucestershire left-hander.
“We were in a great position against them on Sunday, but let it slide. Our bowlers are hitting their strides, and Trent Johnston in particular has been exceptional. It’s up to the batsmen to come to the party now.”
As for his personal achievement in reaching his century, Porterfield can scarcely believe how quickly it has all happened.
“It’s a great honour to reach the milestone of 100 caps, and I’m proud to be in the company of some true Irish cricket legends.
“It’s hard to believe that I only made my debut four years ago, but I suppose that’s a testament to just how much cricket we now play.
“Sabina Park has great memories for us – the dramatic tie with Zimbabwe and the win over Pakistan. It’d be a perfect way to celebrate my 100th cap to get a win over West Indies.”
Ireland will have a full squad to choose from with the exception of fast bowler Boyd Rankin, who has been advised by his county Warwickshire to rest the stress reaction of his right foot for another few days.
Ireland team (from): W Porterfield (captain), A Botha, P Connell, A Cusack, G Dockrell, T Johnston, N Jones, G Kidd, J Mooney, K O’Brien, N O’Brien, P Stirling, A White, G Wilson.